Raw cacao: superfood or health risk?Raw cocoa or raw cacao is becoming increasingly popular in Germany. Whether in the form of cocoa beans, nibs or processed into chocolate – raw products are well received. But what is there to the "raw" health myth??
We have already discussed the meaning and nonsense of the terms raw cacao and raw chocolate in another article. Almost more important, however, is the question of whether raw cocoa is really so healthy or perhaps even a health risk. We have looked at this in some detail below.
Health risks of raw cocoa
During fermentation, heat is generated, which in turn promotes the growth of bacteria. This is expressly desired, as the bacteria involved have a decisive influence on the taste of the end product – the raw cocoa or raw chocolate. During the production of industrial chocolate, the cacao beans are therefore very strongly roasted. This happens because microbial contamination cannot be sufficiently decimated at temperatures that are too low. And even craft chocolate manufacturers make sure that they reach high temperatures during roasting in order to exclude health risks. But how does it work with raw cocoa?
In fact, this question is not so easy to answer. Because while professional manufacturers like Raaka use testing procedures to specifically protect against microorganisms, smaller manufacturers can hardly do this. When buying raw cacao products, it's best to check with the manufacturers to find out what processes they use to minimize health risks.
Is raw cacao really healthy? ©Unsplash
Raw chocolate = superfood?
Manufacturers like Raaka use unroasted cacao beans to achieve the most pristine flavor possible. Most chocolate brands, however, focus mainly on the alleged health benefits and the associated marketing potential. They claim that the low temperatures allow more nutrients to be preserved than the traditional manufacturing process.
If you believe the raw cocoa fans, raw cocoa in particular contains polyphenols, which are said to have antioxidant properties. These are said to be positive for human health because they delay cell damage. In addition, cocoa beans are said to have anti-inflammatory properties and reduce the risk of diabetes. Raw cacao beans in particular contain – according to proponents – magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc, copper, potassium and manganese in high amounts. There is little evidence in research that these positive effects are exclusive to raw cocoa.
In fact, there are studies that suggest that the health benefits of cacao beans are not destroyed by roasting. Researchers at Pennsylvania State University have found that, depending on the roasting temperature and duration, the health benefits of cocoa beans can even be enhanced. So these and other studies suggest that chocolates made from roasted beans are actually healthier overall.
Unroasted or roasted? Primarily a matter of taste. ©Unsplash
Chocolate in research
You would like to learn more about the health benefits of cacao beans and chocolate? We have already done a lot of research for you. So here is a brief overview:
Most people have already noticed that chocolate helps against stress. You can find scientific justifications here. You want to lose weight but can not do without chocolate. Here you can find out why you shouldn't – an assessment by Bas Kast is also available here. You attach importance to a diet rich in dietary fiber? Then you might be interested in our article on the topic of dietary fiber in chocolate. By the way, chocolate is also said to help against cough. What is true about the delicious rumor, you can find out here. And for all you chocolate lovers who are afraid of the dentist – it's probably not because of the chocolate.